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View Full Version : Likelyhood of getting swimmers ear



Reg
03-23-2008, 18:24
I dive alot locally and on some overseas trips I have done a couple of dive days. I haven't ever had a problem with swimmers ear.

I am heading on a couple of overseas dive holidays (ie 4 dives a day for 10 days etc).

What is the likelihood I could get swimmers ear because of the increased amount of diving I will be doing?

hoobascooba
03-23-2008, 18:39
the likelihood is probably 1 of 2 chances.

you get swimmer's ear, or you don't.

just maybe, you could reduce those odds if you stuffed cotton balls in your ears...

jtkkym
03-23-2008, 18:59
You should drain water from your ears after each dive.

CompuDude
03-23-2008, 19:30
If you've never had a problem with it, you'll likely be fine.

I have issues with it. Others have never had issues, and dive as much or more than me. So it mostly depends on you... and if you've never had it, it's probably not going to be a concern for you.

If you're really worried about it, put some "ear beer" in each ear (one at a time of course) and keep it in for a minute or two at the end of every day: 50% white wine vinegar, 50% isopropyl alcohol. That will pretty much ensure you won't get one.

Reg
03-23-2008, 23:11
Thanks for the replies. My fiance is packing her case and starts asking whether we should buy this and that to put in the 'medicines' bag. As we have yet to have any problems with our ears I am not too worried although I certainly don't want it to spoil the holiday if it does come about.

I will direct her to the 'swimmers ear' thread for all the other options.

aggie99
03-23-2008, 23:36
I learned this from my OW instructor: Use a solution of 1/2 Isoprophel Alcohol and 1/2 White Vinegar. The vinegar is the same PH as your body and therefore cut's down on the burning from the alcohol. I use it at the end of every diving day and it seems to work well.

texdiveguy
03-24-2008, 00:05
If you're really worried about it, put some "ear beer" in each ear (one at a time of course) and keep it in for a minute or two at the end of every day: 50% white wine vinegar, 50% isopropyl alcohol. That will pretty much ensure you won't get one.

Ditto.

WaScubaDude
03-24-2008, 02:27
I dive alot locally and on some overseas trips I have done a couple of dive days. I haven't ever had a problem with swimmers ear.

I am heading on a couple of overseas dive holidays (ie 4 dives a day for 10 days etc).

What is the likelihood I could get swimmers ear because of the increased amount of diving I will be doing?

The chances are pretty darn good you will get swimmers ear if you don't use drops. I will re-research the drops I heard worked best. I think it was an ear beer with 1/3 vinegar, 1/3 isopropyl alcohol, 1/3 hydrogen peroxide.

CompuDude
03-24-2008, 03:37
The chances are pretty darn good you will get swimmers ear if you don't use drops. I will re-research the drops I heard worked best. I think it was an ear beer with 1/3 vinegar, 1/3 isopropyl alcohol, 1/3 hydrogen peroxide.

What makes you say that?

ianr33
03-24-2008, 08:10
For me it totally depends where I am diving. In saltwater I never have a problem. In Texas mudholes I use the drops after every dive.

boates
03-24-2008, 09:37
diving that many x's/day, there may be an issue. I had it once, very painful, so now I use the drops before and after dives. Have a great time.:smiley32:

Crimediver
03-24-2008, 10:10
I went to a Public Safety Diving seminar and a Dive Medicine doctor from Duke University advised us that US Navy research showed a 50/50 solution of Isoprpyl Alcohol and white vinegar worked best. However, it must stay in the ear canal for a minimum of 10 minutes to be effective. I've tried it and ten minutes seemed like an hour.

NoTime58
03-24-2008, 10:48
I've never had a problem with swimmers ear before but thanks for the info about the "ear beer" I'll have to remember that. My daughter gets swimmers ear from time to time so I'll relay the info to her as well. The only thing I get concerned about traveling is food poisoning, and I never worried about that before until my wife got it last month from a rstaurant in Florida. Screwed up her diving for three days.

cummings66
03-24-2008, 11:57
Causes of swimmer's ear may include:

Persistent moisture in your ear from swimming, bathing or living in a humid environment
Exposure to an infectious organism from swimming in polluted water
Skin breakage caused by scratching or rubbing your ear with a foreign object (such as a cotton swab or pencil), or attempting to clean earwax (cerumen) from your ear canal
Bacteria growth fostered by hair sprays or hair dyes in your earRisk factors

Swimmer's ear is common in children and in young adults. You may be at increased risk of infection if a skin condition, such as eczema, causes you to scratch your ears excessively. Earwax buildup or blockage also may increase your risk by trapping water in your ear and increasing the likelihood that you'll cut the skin while cleaning your ear.
Other ear problems also may increase your risk of swimmer's ear, including small ear canals that don't drain well and chronic middle ear infections that moisten and perforate the eardrum.
If you're an older adult or have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, your immune system may be impaired, increasing your risk of swimmer's ear. If you have poorly managed diabetes, you're at increased risk of developing severe, painful swimmer's ear that may be difficult to treat.

MicahEW
03-24-2008, 12:13
I dive alot locally and on some overseas trips I have done a couple of dive days. I haven't ever had a problem with swimmers ear.

I am heading on a couple of overseas dive holidays (ie 4 dives a day for 10 days etc).

What is the likelihood I could get swimmers ear because of the increased amount of diving I will be doing?


If you've never had a problem with it, you'll likely be fine.

I have issues with it. Others have never had issues, and dive as much or more than me. So it mostly depends on you... and if you've never had it, it's probably not going to be a concern for you.

If you're really worried about it, put some "ear beer" in each ear (one at a time of course) and keep it in for a minute or two at the end of every day: 50% white wine vinegar, 50% isopropyl alcohol. That will pretty much ensure you won't get one.


I went to a Public Safety Diving seminar and a Dive Medicine doctor from Duke University advised us that US Navy research showed a 50/50 solution of Isoprpyl Alcohol and white vinegar worked best. However, it must stay in the ear canal for a minimum of 10 minutes to be effective. I've tried it and ten minutes seemed like an hour.


I usually do the same I do equal parts of White wine vinegar, Isopropyl, and a little bit of baby oil. I usually get as much of the water out of my ears as i can with a dry Qtip then put abt 3 drops of the mix in let it set then clesn them out again. The isoprrpyl kills what might be growing and helps excess water to evap, the vinegar raises the Ph and keeps new stuff from growing and I add a little baby oil to keep everything from getting too dry. If your inner ear gets too dry it can crack and cause damage.

UCFKnightDiver
03-24-2008, 13:05
they have some swimmers ear products out there already not sure how well they work but I have one called Swim-EAR that I use from time to time and it says its 95% Isopropyl Alcohol

Foo2
03-24-2008, 13:29
the likelihood is probably 1 of 2 chances.

you get swimmer's ear, or you don't.

just maybe, you could reduce those odds if you stuffed cotton balls in your ears...

FYI, as a multi time swimmer's ear veteran...I would not recommend the cotton balls. Swimmer's Ear is basically a bacteria that forms when your ears do not dry out properly. Cotton balls would only hold more moisture in your ear canals. If you are wanting to prevent water from entering your ears, maybe try ear plugs? Although, I haven't ever tried this and it may even make it hard to equalize...but I don't really know. Whatever you do, use the ear beer EVERY day you dive!

aggie99
03-24-2008, 13:52
they have some swimmers ear products out there already not sure how well they work but I have one called Swim-EAR that I use from time to time and it says its 95% Isopropyl Alcohol

I bought that stuff but it just burned to darn much. Plus, it was like $6 for a small container and an entire bottle of Isporopyl alcohol was $2 and white vingegar was about the same and these will last me forever. I just dumped out the the Swim EAR solution and use the container.

UCFKnightDiver
03-24-2008, 13:53
ear plugs underwater could create an ear squeeze when ascending but you could try docs pro plugs which dont (never tried them but have heard they work pretty well)

CompuDude
03-24-2008, 20:26
they have some swimmers ear products out there already not sure how well they work but I have one called Swim-EAR that I use from time to time and it says its 95% Isopropyl Alcohol

Swim-EAR isn't good... it's essentially pure alcohol, which does out the ear, but TOO much. Overly-dried ears are actually more likely to crack and allow the bacteria responsible for infections through the dermis.

I do like to use the swim ear bottles as droppers for my home-mixed ear beer, though. :)

For more, see DAN's article:

More On Swimmers Ear: DAN revisits and expands on the preventive measures for otitis externa (http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/article.asp?articleid=49)

Reg
03-25-2008, 03:49
Thanks I too like the idea of using the 'bought' swimmer ear stuff and just using the bottle for my own concoction of ear beer. Will definetly go out and buy some alcohol and vinegar to make it up and take it with us.
I am sure we will have a great time in Fiji.

frogman159
03-27-2008, 14:30
ear plugs underwater could create an ear squeeze when ascending but you could try docs pro plugs which dont (never tried them but have heard they work pretty well)

IMHO I would be very nervous about putting anything in my ears while diving. Even if they are ventable or whatever...If by some even remote chance the earplug got dislodged, by a fin to the head or poor fit, you'd be exposing your eardrum to the immediate pressure of your depth its likely you won't be able to equilize that fast and the pressure would probably blow in your eardrum:smiley21:

I'd take swimmer's ear anyday

CompuDude
03-28-2008, 18:42
ear plugs underwater could create an ear squeeze when ascending but you could try docs pro plugs which dont (never tried them but have heard they work pretty well)

IMHO I would be very nervous about putting anything in my ears while diving. Even if they are ventable or whatever...If by some even remote chance the earplug got dislodged, by a fin to the head or poor fit, you'd be exposing your eardrum to the immediate pressure of your depth its likely you won't be able to equilize that fast and the pressure would probably blow in your eardrum:smiley21:

I'd take swimmer's ear anyday

Doc Pro Plugs are designed specifically for diving, so those things aren't a concern... they just don't work in a way that creates that issue.

There are other reasons why I avoid them (don't really need them, being the chief reason), but the concerns you listed aren't among them.

UCFKnightDiver
03-28-2008, 18:51
the thing you would have to be worried about is if the vent got clogged by something like ear wax so you have to wash them in alcohol when they are not being used... it works I believe by keeping water off the ear not by changing the pressure gradient

scubasamurai
03-28-2008, 20:57
hey if you didn;t get it on your regular dives, than your pretty good. most of the time a dry ear mix is good, vinegar or etoh( rubbing variety will dry the water out pretty good. but unless your prone to it, i won't worry about it have fun

johnyringo
03-29-2008, 11:27
I dive alot locally and on some overseas trips I have done a couple of dive days. I haven't ever had a problem with swimmers ear.

I am heading on a couple of overseas dive holidays (ie 4 dives a day for 10 days etc).

What is the likelihood I could get swimmers ear because of the increased amount of diving I will be doing?


If you've never had a problem with it, you'll likely be fine.

I have issues with it. Others have never had issues, and dive as much or more than me. So it mostly depends on you... and if you've never had it, it's probably not going to be a concern for you.

If you're really worried about it, put some "ear beer" in each ear (one at a time of course) and keep it in for a minute or two at the end of every day: 50% white wine vinegar, 50% isopropyl alcohol. That will pretty much ensure you won't get one.


I went to a Public Safety Diving seminar and a Dive Medicine doctor from Duke University advised us that US Navy research showed a 50/50 solution of Isoprpyl Alcohol and white vinegar worked best. However, it must stay in the ear canal for a minimum of 10 minutes to be effective. I've tried it and ten minutes seemed like an hour.


I usually do the same I do equal parts of White wine vinegar, Isopropyl, and a little bit of baby oil. I usually get as much of the water out of my ears as i can with a dry Qtip then put abt 3 drops of the mix in let it set then clesn them out again. The isoprrpyl kills what might be growing and helps excess water to evap, the vinegar raises the Ph and keeps new stuff from growing and I add a little baby oil to keep everything from getting too dry. If your inner ear gets too dry it can crack and cause damage.


The baby oil sounds like a great idea. I've read that most OTC solutions, due to the high % of alcohol, can cause ear problems due to the drying effect of the alcohol. I got a bad case of swimmers ear, for the first time, while in Coz. last year, so I went to a local pharmacia there, and the guy sold me (about $20) a little bottle of some topical antibiotic solution that worked really well. It's not a preventative, but is great for clearing it up. It's now a permanent part of my travel kit. I'm not at home at the moment and can't remember the name (plus it's in spanish). If you'd like that info. feel free to PM me. I'm sure it would require a prescription here in the U.S., but if you're prone to ear infection/swimmers ear it would be well worth having.

Reg
04-06-2008, 21:48
Hey everyone thanks for all the suggestions. We have just arrived back from Fiji - it was awesome. I took over my own concoction but didn't use it. We did 6 days of diving with Beqa Adventure Divers and had no problems with the ears. We were diving in some pretty beautiful water though.

Once again thanks for all the suggestions.

NoTime58
04-07-2008, 06:26
Hey everyone thanks for all the suggestions. We have just arrived back from Fiji - it was awesome. I took over my own concoction but didn't use it. We did 6 days of diving with Beqa Adventure Divers and had no problems with the ears. We were diving in some pretty beautiful water though.

Once again thanks for all the suggestions.


OK.....when can we expect your "trip report" and pictures to be posted ??